Councillors clash over priorities of Nuthurst Neighbourhood Plan

JPCT 130313 Land for development behind The Quarries and Winterpit Close off Winterpit Lane in Mannings Heath. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 130313 Land for development behind The Quarries and Winterpit Close off Winterpit Lane in Mannings Heath. Photo by Derek Martin
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Councillors clashed over the immediate priorities of a Neighbourhood Plan for Nuthurst at a parish council meeting last Wednesday.

During an update on a working group’s investigations into a Neighbourhood Plan parish councillor John Le Rossignol suggested that Mannings Heath and Monks Gate should be the two areas of immediate concern for Nuthurst Parish Council.

However other councillors expressed their concern at this approach and whether it would be detrimental to the rest of the parish.

They agreed to submit a statement of intent to produce a Neighbourhood Plan to Horsham District Council after some confusion from some parish councillors and the audience, who thought that the council had already agreed to produce a plan.

Val Court, chairman of Nuthurst Parish Council, said that the Neighbourhood Plan would be a very strong document, but it would take time to produce.

Mr Le Rossignol said: “There’s no guarantee but it might be worth doing.

“The proposal is we think that this parish should produce a Neighbourhood Plan but we would like it done in two phases; Mannings Heath and Monks Gate then the others because of the immediate issues.”

He reasoned if they had some work started it might help ward off development hanging over Mannings Heath, including proposals to build 64 houses north of Winterpit Lane by Exclusive Hotels, which runs Mannings Heath Golf Club.

Lyn Rose said: “I’m concerned we seem to be going ahead with a Neighbourhood Plan just because of the proposed development at Mannings Heath.

“We are talking about the parish not just Sadlers Farm.”

She continued: “I just believe we are a parish. We do not want to get so involved in Mannings Heath that we forget about the rest of the parish.”

Mr Le Rossignol answered: “The reason for having a first stage for housing in Mannings Heath is it may give us the ability to control our own destiny in the short term.”

Gina Dixon added: “What is developable and what isn’t?

“There is more than Sadlers Farm. There’s rumours there’s a lot more coming.”

HDC has seen several recent planning applications overturned by the planning inspector because of perceived housing shortfalls in the district.

It was agreed that the priorities would be established when the steering group is set up, and councillors appealed for volunteers with expertise or time to offer to get in touch.